Nearly 150,000 jobs were added last month while the unemployment rate remained steady from November, according to the Department of Labor’s December jobs report.
Americans’ average hourly income rose by 9 cents to $26.63 in the last month of the year, securing a 2.5 percent increase in wages over 2017, The New York Times reports.
At 148,000 jobs, the number came in lower than predicted. With six million open jobs in the U.S. and 6.6 million people currently unemployed, hiring should remain strong throughout 2018, however, according to The Washington Post.
In total, 2017’s average monthly job growth was below the previous year, yet still at healthy levels, economists say.
Throughout the year, employers found skilled labor harder to find and keep. Retiring baby boomer and drug abuse has resulted in many open positions, while competitive labor markets make hiring difficult, WaPo reports.
Companies in the most competitive markets have begun increasing wages in order to attract the workers they need. Melton Truck Lines CEO Bob Peterson increased pay for 1,600 truck drivers in his company.
“With unemployment this low, anyone worth their salt has got a job and probably a darn good one,” Peterson told TheNYT.
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